All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
Last of all, I made this little video. The quality was crude, and the editing was done by hand, on two separate VCRs.
Collecting was my highway to adventure. I loved attending every flea market, and antique show on the East Coast of America, for over thirty years. I liked the people that I met there, fellow collectors, and most dealers. I felt comfortable and at home. I knew the ropes, especially those designed to keep the public out that I could lift up, and duck under to get in. A week at Brimfield, three times a year, two more weeks at the Atlantic City show, and a different flea market every weekend; I loved being there.
I wish I could say the same for Toy Fair! I essentially hated it. Toy showrooms, in general, did not welcome inventors. They often acted like they thought that we were there to steal ideas. Even those companies, who had our products on display, were not easy to get into. I also felt uncomfortable with the people. Most were business types, with whom I had nothing in common, hot and cold running salesmen. This was the world of Willy Loman!
But to my partners, Andy, Adam and Noah, Toy Fair was Shangri-La. They loved it. This was their equivalent of nirvana. And they were everywhere, meeting people, making contacts, and feeling the pulse of current trends. And so, they were my ears and eyes in an industry, for which I had little affinity.
Thus, they brought challenges to me that I would never dream of imitating on my own. Scooters and Skateboards was one such challenge. Apparently, they came across a company that specialized in that sort of thing, and seemed to be open to outside submissions. So, I found myself trying to come up with ideas that KISCOM could show them. Clearly, this was not my cup of tea, but I was willing to try anything, in my continuing quest to make a living.
One mobile appliance that even I could master as a little kid, was a scooter. Just stand on it with one foot, push with the other, and steer. I could do that even before I could ride a bike. Now, I imagined a scooter that was disguised as a motorcycle. It could even have electronic sounds added, so, it sounded like a motorbike!
With a big tire in the front, and a headlamp, the illusion might be quite convincing. Then I visualized a variation that was actually motorized. It would have a battery powered motor inside.
It might have a complicated looking dashboard, and chrome plated exhaust pipes.
Here, is an elaborate variation that is actually a motorbike, upon which a kid could stand. It also broadcast super loud electronic sounds!
I didn’t put a lot of thought into these. The project was inspired by spur of the minute intuition. Looking at these drawings, now, I see many faults. For one thing, the floor would need to be much longer, so, the riders feet don’t contact the rear wheels. Maybe, some rear fenders would be required. Nonetheless, this kid looks like he is having fun.
As I continued this series of drawings, the scooter became more and more cut down, until it resembled a skateboard, in size and look as well.
Here is one that is trimmed down even more. It is kid powered with electronic sounds. The diagram shows how the sound generator rides the wheel.
This version called a Bike Board was transformable. The learning handles could be removed, once the user mastered the board alone.
Alas, I fear I really had no idea how a skateboard operates. Skateboards with animal heads and sound effects were probably impractical. But that was not the reason these "Beast Boards" didnt sell. I turned out that KISCOM”s lead didn’t pan out. The company had no need for outside submissions after all.
These “Baad Boards” were my favorites. I had trimmed the item down to its very essence, essentially, not usable as skateboards, I’m afraid. And, of course, the native American design is not PC. I thought the shark was really “neat!”
Last of all, this “Little Board.” It could be a child’s first skateboard, complete with headlight, handlebars, and horn!